9.02.2018

This is 26

Another year has come and gone and I love when my birthday comes around because it forces me to pause and consider. It always (yes, always) causes me to love the Lord more and sing His praises with more assurance - He continues to mould and shape me and reflecting on the year is such a sweet reminder of His goodness. He is a good good Father. So here we go...


Hello Twenty-Six. In high school when I would dream about my twenties this was not what I had planned. I figured I would get married later in life (early 30's) and work in the international development world somehow. I would live in a big city, wear my high heels and pant suit and fight for those who were voiceless. I would educate and rally people, bring people together on platforms around social change and work my butt off to change this world.

Today, I'm sitting in my rental home in a town that doesn't even have a mall or public transit. There are toys pilled up all around me and burb cloths that need to be folded. I don't even own a pant suit and I can't remember the last time I wore heels. I barley know what is going on internationally and any time I try to turn on the news my toddler begs for Daniel Tiger instead. I'm cramming this letter in between naps and making supper because I know once I get both kiddos to sleep I will crash and probably be asleep by 9pm with no head space to write this letter. I sometimes don't leave my house and don't talk to another adult all day. When Mark comes home (my high school sweetheart who waited forever for me while I figured out my life) I talk his ear off about theology, and everything deep because I have talked about garbage trucks all day. His kisses me and gently entertains my conversations even though he has talked about theology all day and would love to talk about garbage trucks with his son.

So this is 26. It is the best and each year gets sweeter and better.

After a super rough year for our family work wise, we both felt God calling us elsewhere - to more. We didn't know that telling God we would go anywhere and do anything for the sake of His Kingdom we would end up in Muskoka. We moved exactly a year ago at the end of August 2017. I was so sick being pregnant that I didn't pack or move a box. I didn't leave our home for the first few weeks because I knew no one and was literally too sick to get out of bed, let alone take a toddler out. I missed home, my family and my people who I had so intentionally invested and poured so much of my life into. It wasn't an easy start but Mark and I had utmost assurance this is where God wanted us and when you have the Lord tell you that - nothing else matters. You are content.

This year we fell in love with this sweet town as we began to learn all about it and its people. Our church is thriving and people are desperate for more of Jesus. Month by month we found more of our groove. We got our dentist and doctors and we decided it was worth it to travel to Bracebridge for the cheaper grocery store - aka we started putting down roots.  My husband has his dream job and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I gave birth to our baby girl this year in April and I can't fathom some days how good the Lord is to let be their Momma.


In chatting with Mark earlier this week about it being a year since we moved, I was having all the feels. I'm just so stinkin grateful that I get to live this life with my best friend, raise my kiddos and give God away to this world so desperate for answers and purpose. There is a phrase going on in the mega churches that says "we get to do this" and as corny as it, it has stuck with so many people, including myself. I get to be Jackson and Marlowe's Momma. I get to be married to be the best human on this planet. I get to serve at a church that loves us and loves people. I get to have a job where I don't need childcare. Grateful, grateful, grateful.

I still struggle with wanting a comfortable life and not laying down my life for my brother and sister. I am struggling with postpaturm weight again and have no idea what self care is. I still don't have any balance in my life - I'm the all or nothing girl and I wonder if that will ever change. Mom guilt is something fierce most days as I convince myself I am doing everything wrong and going to permenantly ruin my children. But JESUS. Each day I learn more about Him and His heart through His word, the bible and can't help sing his praises and fall deeper in love with Him.

This past year Jesus has truly become my best friend. He knows me so deeply, so intimately and is the first one I run to in the good or the bad. I've always wanted Jesus to be my everything but I still relied heavily on other pastors teaching or ran to my husband first before the Lord. But this past year I can honestly say that has changed. Jesus is so near, so true, so faithful and my best friend. I know we are all on our own journeys but I am so desperate for others to know Jesus this way. To be excited about spending time with Him and not feel like it is the "Christian thing to do." And I know that it is only going to get better. As time goes on Jesus promises to continue to sanctify us and make us more into His image. That process is painful and and strips down so much of pride, but wow, it is so good coming out of the pruning season and seeing fruit. I know this life isn't easy and everyone is dealing with such deep pain but I just know we are on earth for such a short time. I'm already 26 and this could be my very last day on earth - it is Jesus that gives me each day, each breathe and I just want to keep my eyes fixed on the cross to run my race well. I long for this next year to be one where I look back as I write my happy 27th birthday letter and say I was fixing my eyes on the eternal things- the things that matter. I know I mess up so much and hurt so many but I want to be quick to apologize and learn from my messes and move on because we aren't on this earth for ourselves.

So here's to an unbelievable year of growth, for putting down roots in a new town, for having another baby and loving Jesus more. Yes 25, you were so so good to me and I welcome what my 26th year will bring.

XO
Maddie

somehow in the midst of being super sick and moving I never published by 25th birthday letter but you can find my 24th letter here, and turning 23 here and even 21 




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